The Walrus Class submarine and beyond

Report interviews the Commanding Officer of the Dutch Submarine fleet, Captain Hugo Ammerlaan about the Walrus Class service life extension programme and developments concerning the next generation of submarines.


Commanding Officer Submarine Service Netherlands at the Royal Netherlands Navy, Captain Hugo

Ammerlaan started his naval career more than 35 years ago. He was immediately attracted to submarines because he could expect ‘a lot of responsibility at a young age’ and in the days of the Cold War submarines were also certain to be on ‘real missions’ rather than training exercises.

During the decades he has been the Comman- ding Officer of the Walrus Class submarine Dolfijn, been part of the Royal Navy’s Sub- marine Tactics and Weapons Group at the Faslane submarine base in Scotland and being CO of both an M-class frigate and air-defence and command frigate. Captain Ammerlaan was also the Naval Plans Officer for NATO, based at the NATO International Military Staff (IMS) headquarters in Brussels.

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He was named Commanding Officer Submarine Service Netherlands in 2013. “Coming back into submarines fitted like a glove, I enjoy every minute of the job.”

Returning to the submarine world was not looking very likely for many years as debate raged in the Netherlands for more than a decade as to whether submarines should still be considered a strategic asset. The Dutch built some of the first submarines in the early 1900s and had a fleet of 30 at the time of the Second World War. By the eighties the fleet was down to six boats; four Dolfijn Class and two Swordfish Class. But following the fall of the Berlin Wall, a decision was taken to replace these with the four Walrus Class boats the Royal Netherlands Navy has now.

Service Life Extension With the design of the Walrus Class dating back to the

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